The strangest part of the rumor, Ducati reportedly approached Royal Enfield with the idea of an acquisition. As reported by the Times of India today, its possible Eicher Motors-owned Royal Enfield could become the new owner of the iconic Italian brand.
It should be noted, rumors of Ducati’s own parent company, Volkswagen AG, have weather rumors of selling the performance motorcycle manufacturer for some time. The latest does follow the same facts heard in past whispers of a Ducati sale, that of Volkswagen AG feeling financial pressure from its ‘DieselGate’ scandal.
The history behind Volkswagen AG’s scandal and how rumors initially put Ducati on the supposed auction block can be found in Clutch and Chrome’s ‘VW's emissions scandal puts a possible sale sign on Ducati’.
Royal Enfield's latest model, the Himalayan
Following the adage of ‘old is new again’ the Times of India reported Volkswagen have indeed explored options of selling Ducati, which led to valuation estimates of 1.5 billion euros for the Italian brand. Understanding the Eicher Group has diversified business interests in design and development, manufacturing, and local and international marketing of trucks, buses, motorcycles, automotive gears, and components, it’s not a question of whether the large, international company can afford to buy Ducati, but more if they want to.
Aside from Ducati’s Scrambler models, the two motorcycle lines actually complement one another and both have spent the last few years expanding their brands around the world. However, without any official word from either parent company, moment the rumor remains just that, a rumor.
"We can't talk to you on such things," Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO of Eicher Motors, told Times of India when asked about possible acquisition plans for Ducati.
Last year, when similar rumors started appearing in financial news websites as well as in the motorcycle media, Volkswagen AG were fairly quick to discredit them, if not in a polite and quiet manner. Since then, various countries have weighed in with their legal decisions and penalties for the ‘DieselGate’ scandal.
Whether through similar statements from last year, or simple silence, motorcycle enthusiasts could have their answer as early as this week.
Ducati's Monster 1200 R